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The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is pleased to announce Joshua Reding, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and other members of the 51st class of the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) program. STPF fellows are chosen from a select group of doctoral-level scientists and highly experienced Masters-level engineers to engage in a one-year immersive educational opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the public policy arena while leveraging their expertise to help confront major societal issues in the U.S. government.


Among the 276 highly trained STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals selected, Dr. Reding will serve at the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Electromagnetic Spectrum Management office in the Division of Astronomical Sciences.


Reding completed his doctoral degree in Physics in 2022 under the advisory of Provost Chris Clemens, for which he investigated unusual white dwarf stars likely formed in stellar mergers as “failed” supernovae. In his STPF appointment at NSF, he will use his observational astronomy expertise to inform responsible use of the electromagnetic spectrum on the international stage, especially in light of rising threats to ground-based astronomy such as satellite mega-constellations.


“Having been an STPF fellow myself, the start of each fellowship year brings both fond memories and excitement for the future,” said Rashada Alexander, Ph.D., STPF director and alumna fellow. “The 51st class of STPF fellows are quite the gathering of minds: these are expert-level scientists and engineers who have chosen to devote a year or more to help ensure that the nation’s policies are informed by science.”


Fellows like Dr. Reding will learn first-hand about federal policymaking and implementation. They will also gain invaluable skills in communication, diplomacy, collaboration and consensus-building. This opportunity will build upon Reding’s past year of state-level science policy work as a North Carolina STEM Policy Fellow in the NC Department of Commerce’s Office of Science, Technology & Innovation (OSTI).


“I am delighted for the opportunity to bring my science policy experience back to my field of research, and I hope to make a lasting positive impact on the future of observational astronomy,” Dr. Reding reflected.


The 2023-24 fellowship class is sponsored by organizations including AAAS, the Moore Foundation and partner societies. Of the 276 fellows chosen, 38 will serve in Congress, one will serve at the Federal Judicial Center, and 237 will serve in the executive branch among 19 federal agencies or departments. New this year, among the 38 fellows in Congress, six are members of AAAS’ special AI Rapid Response Cohort – experts in artificial intelligence and related areas recruited to help confront pressing issues such as privacy, intellectual property rights, employment, and innovation in the field.


The STPF program supports evidence-based policymaking by leveraging the knowledge and analytical mindset of science and engineering experts, and trains leaders for a strong U.S. science and technology enterprise. Fellows represent a vast array of disciplines, backgrounds and career stages. After the fellowship, many remain in the policy arena working at the federal, state, regional or international level, while others pursue careers in academia, industry or the nonprofit sector.


Founded in 1973, the STPF program celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year. At the end of his service, Dr. Reding will join a select corps of 4,000+ alumni fellows who are equipped to solve problems with a unique set of science policy skills and acumen.

Also this year, STPF is launching an alumni network to stimulate and support collaboration among them to further the STPF mission of supporting evidence-based decision-making in US public policy.


Visit to learn more about the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For additional information about AAAS, please visit


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